Sunday, May 5, 2013

Comparisons: Medical Care

In an effort to finish documenting my life here in Saudi Arabia before we move back to New York (in less than two months!- Gasp!) I thought I'd write a few posts dealing with the differences between our Saudi lifestyle and our New York lifestyle.

Medical Care in New York

Scenario: Two of the five children have fevers and sore throats.

I call our pediatrician's office and they schedule an appointment, usually that day. Office hours are between 9 and 6 p.m. If after hours, I can call the doctor and they will make a suggestion whether to visit urgent care or the E.R or wait it out till the next day. I drive the kids to the appointment where they wait in the waiting room for a few minutes and then see a doctor. The doctor who knows all of our family by our first names, examines the kids, runs some tests, and then gives me a diagnosis. If necessary we are given a prescription. I drive to the local pharmacy to fill the prescription. We go home and dose the children and wait. Children get better and all is well.

Medical Care in Saudi Arabia

Scenario: Two of the five children have fevers and sore throats.

Husband and I debate back and forth the merits of going to the doctor. Toddler is out of his mind cranky and screaming. We have to wait for the right hours to go to the doctor. This means from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Then we have to wait until after 4 p.m. The ER is available if needed. Husband battles traffic for a long while. We arrive at clinic. It is closed. We finally find the ER entrance. We fill out paperwork and then sit and wait. And we wait. Finally, the doctor calls us back and briefly examines the children. The doctor says the illness is not serious and sends us home. Another day of constant tears from the toddler. This time doctor says the child is worse and does some tests. A prescription is written and filled at the pharmacy. Husband drives home the family and feels exhausted by the traffic.

Saudi Arabia does have good health care at times. It's just that it can be uncertain. I never quite know what I'm going to get when we go to the doctor. Also, my husband has to drive us or we have to arrange for the compound taxi service to get us there. And then there's that whole "closed for prayer" thing that really messes with your schedule. And this is why we avoid going to the doctor if possible.

1 comment:

  1. Do they have traditional medicine that they rely on over the doctors? When I lived in Western Samoa they had both modern medicine and also traditional. Both forms seemed to produce positive results. (And of all people, I'm sure as you've lived around the world, I'm sure you've seen that Western medicine isn't the ONLY medicine as we like to think here!!)